Global Inequality Research Initiative (GIRI)

Global Inequality Research Initiative

The Global Inequality Research Initiative (GIRI) seminar is an interdisciplinary, vertically integrated research course that emphasizes a judicious application of mixed methods from the social sciences and humanities, including quantitative, qualitative, and archival research. With crosslists in multiple departments, GIRI facilitates integrated study and research across fields of social, historical, and political inequality. The course invites each student to produce a major paper that will qualify for submission to a refereed journal in the area relevant to the focus of the study. Past GIRI seminar themes include reparations, genetics and neuroscience, racism in Europe, and social determinants of health.

Upcoming GIRI Seminars

Duke Immerse: Inequality in the U.S. and China – Spring 2020

Inequality in the U.S. & China explores ethics, economics, social inequality and policy solutions specific to each country. Students will conduct independent research focused on questions of mobility and policy across six domains: employment, education, wealth, health, political participation and treatment by the legal system. Under the visionary leadership of Dr. William "Sandy" Darity, this bi-national Duke Immerse offers Duke undergrads the unique opportunity to engage and study with leading scholars of inequality at Duke University (U.S.) and Renmin University (China). Students will also develop understanding of the configurations of power influencing disparities in both countries, scrutinizing matters of money, race, health, education, history, place and culture. This program includes a 10-day research trip to Beijing, China. The Inequality in the U.S. and China Duke Immerse integrates independent comparative research with cross-cultural exchange and interdisciplinary classroom learning. Immerse students will explore themes of ethics and inequality with Dr. Adam Hollowell as well as educational, economic and political mobility in China with Dr. Kunfeng Pan. 

All interested students are encouraged to apply by downloading the registration application at this link and submitting the completed form to Adam Hollowell by 12 P.M. Tuesday, October 15th. Interested students can also email adam.hollowell@duke.edu for more information about the program. Capacity is capped at just fifteen students, so apply early!

Current GIRI Seminar

Race, Gender, and Entrepreneurship – Fall 2019

The goal of the class is to navigate the students through a rigorous process that introduces them to the research process.  This includes some exposure to qualitative and quantitative methodology.  It introduces students to data gathering, cleaning, analysis, and presentation.  When students complete the course, they should have a better understanding of both the dynamics of race, gender, and entrepreneurship discreetly and at their intersections, as well as the academic research process.  An advanced undergraduate student or graduate student should gain value from this course. In all Global Inequality Research Institute courses, the goal is to immerse students in open-ended research, only with the guidelines of exploring a component of the semester’s theme. Students should not only be able to conduct research, but also share it. This semester, students will have the opportunity to share their research at a national conference sponsored by JP Morgan Chase and at the Capstone conference at the end of the semester. The final component of sharing is the goal of having the research paper published in a Social Science journal.

Past GIRI Seminars

Race and Racism in Europe – Spring 2019

The 2019 Spring GIRI seminar explored what humanities scholar David Theo Goldberg refers to as “racial Europeanization,” or how race and racism are framed as a problem everywhere but in Europe. What does it mean to study race in Europe when race is often seen as inexistent? What are the socio-historical experiences of black populations across the continent? What is the role of racism and discrimination for the continued marginalization of non-white populations? We will discuss how to think racially outside of the United States, the formation of intergroup economic stratification, the nature of the “immigrant problem” vis a vis citizenship, the role of the state and statistics about race and ethnicity, the role of whiteness and national identities, the question of Islam and Islamophobia, and the role of hate speech and anti-racist movements and legal frameworks. The Spring 2019 Capstone Conference will be held on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in Duke Divinity School Westbrook 0014W. RSVP here

Examining Neuroscience, Genetics, and Inequality – Fall 2018

The 2018 Fall GIRI seminar explored controversial and important issues related to race, genetics and inequality, how they are studied, and whether (and how) such studies should inform medical practice, criminal and other legal actions, personal identity claims, health disparities, and social policy. Should we phase out the use of racial terminology in biological sciences? If so, will the conventional terminology be replaced by new language that preserves the same ideas? And are those ideas actually incorrect? If we deem illegitimate genetic explanations for differences in group-based behaviors and outcomes, is there still a space for genetic explanations for differences in individual behaviors and outcomes? The seminar convened on Wednesdays from 11:45 AM - 2:15 PM in Biological Sciences Room 113.

Reparations - Spring 2018

Racial reparations have been and continue to be one of the most explosive contemporary issues. Some argue that this country’s history of enslavement renders some form of reparations necessary to the quest for social justice; that understanding reparations is central to honest conversations about race and racism. Others argue that reparations for past injustices such as slavery are unfair. Still others refuse to discuss the topic altogether. This course will cover in comprehensive detail the issues surrounding programs of group compensation for grievous injustice. Particular emphasis will be given to the controversies surrounding the call for reparations for African Americans with a focus on economic dimensions of the debate. Close attention will be given, for example, to procedure for construction of measures of appropriate pecuniary compensation in the event that such a program is adopted. The course convened Wednesdays 11:45 pm – 2:15 pm in Biological Sciences Rm. 063.

Examining Neuroscience, Genetics and Inequality - Fall 2017

The 2017 Fall Global Inequality Research Institute (GIRI) Seminar Examining Neuroscience, Genetics and Inequality explored controversial and important issues related to race, genetics and inequality, how they are studied, and whether (and how) such studies should inform medical practice, criminal and other legal actions, personal identity claims, health disparities, and social policy. Should we phase out the use of racial terminology in biological sciences? If so, will the conventional terminology be replaced by new language that preserves the same ideas? And are those ideas actually incorrect? If we deem illegitimate genetic explanations for differences in group-based behaviors and outcomes, is there still a space for genetic explanations for differences in individual behaviors and outcomes? The course convened Wednesdays 11:45 pm – 2:15 pm in Keohane 4D 201 SEM.

  • Race in a Bottle: The Story of BiDil and Racialized Medicine in a Post-Genomic Age - Jonathan Kahn (2014)
  • Medicating Race - Anne Pollock​ (2012)

Past GIRI Events

GIRI Capstone Conference: "Examining Neuroscience, Genetics, and Inequality” 
Rubenstein Library - Duke University
Friday, November 30, 2018

Should we phase out the use of racial terminology in biological sciences? If so, will the conventional terminology be replaced by new language that preserves the same ideas? And are those ideas actually incorrect? If we deem illegitimate genetic explanations for differences in group-based behaviors and outcomes, is there still a space for genetic explanations for differences in individual behaviors and outcomes?  The Global Inequality Research Initiative Capstone Conference on Neuroscience, Genetics, and Inequality explored these issues. The conference featured a keynote address from Erin E. Murphy, Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, Sanford School of Public Policy graduate students, and GIRI student research presentations. View conference photos here


GIRI Capstone Conference: "Reparations"
Erwin Mill Building - Duke University
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Racial reparations have been and continue to be one of the most explosive contemporary issues. Some argue that this country’s history of enslavement renders some form of reparations necessary to the quest for social justice; that understanding reparations is central to honest conversations about race and racism. The Global Inequality Research Initiative Capstone Conference on Reparations explored these issues. The conference featured a keynote address from sociologist Joe Feagin, Ella C. McFadden Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M, Malik Edwards, Professor of Law, North Carolina Central University, and GIRI student research presentations. View conference photos here.

GIRI2018SpringCapstone

GIRI students Hannah Riemann (left) and M’Balou Camara (right) present their research project titled “Rwandan Genocide.”
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GIRI Capstone Conference: "Examining Neuroscience, Genetics and Inequality"
Erwin Mill Building - Duke University
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Leading scholars and students enrolled in the Global Inequality Research Initiative (GIRI) seminar gathered to explore important issues related to race, genetics and inequality, how they are studied, and whether (and how) such studies should inform medical practice, criminal and other legal actions, personal identity claims, health disparities, and social policy.  The "Examining Neuroscience, Genetics and Inequality" capstone conference featured a keynote address by Dr. Joseph L. Graves Jr., an expert panel including Dr. Brenda Reddix-Smalls and Dr. Misha Angrist, and student presentations. The Global Inequality Research Initiative is an interdisciplinary, vertically integrated research initiative that emphasizes a judicious application of mixed methods from the social sciences, both quantitative and qualitative, and the treatment of representation and identity from the humanities. Simultaneously GIRI serves as a clearinghouse for the best available data and research on group-based inequality. View conference photos here.

GIRI Capstone Conference: "Social Determinants of Health"
Duke Integrative Medicine - Duke University
Monday, April 18, 2016

Featured speakers included Chandra Ford, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Her areas of expertise include HIV/AIDS prevention and care; HIV testing among older adults; the social determinants of health/social epidemiology; conceptualizing and measuring racism, race and ethnicity. Jonathan Livingston, Associate Professor of Psychology at North Carolina Central University. His areas of interests are African American psychological well-being and the cumulative effects of racism and social inequalities on African American mental health and health disparities. Additional areas of interest include program evaluation, community development, and education reform. Wizdom Powell, Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and trained population health disparities research scientist and clinical psychologist. She is recognized nationally for the impact of her work addressing social determinants of health inequities among boys and men of color. Damon Tweedy is the author of Black Man in a White Coat, a New York Times Bestseller selected as one of the top books of 2015 by TIME, Booklist, and Library Journal. Dr. Tweedy is a graduate of Duke University School of Medicine. He is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and a staff physician at the Durham Veteran Affairs Medical Center. He has published articles about race and medicine in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune, as well as in various medical journals.


GIRI Capstone Conference: "Telling Identity Stories: Race, Class and Psychology"
Nasher Museum of Art Lecture Hall - Duke University
Monday, November 16, 2015

The capstone conference for the Global Inequality Research Initiative featured a keynote talk by Stephanie Rowley, a professor in the School of Education, the Department of Psychology and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan; Brittney Cooper, an assistant professor of women's and gender studies and Africana studies at the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences; and Keisha L. Bentley-Edwards, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas, Austin.